around the traps

gitcher sedition, used to be called the news

  • 'No real progress' in port clearance rate. 28/10/2005. ABC News Online: There are still major problems removing freight from Port Botany because of the new Customs computer system, despite signs of an easing in the backlog, the Road Transport Association (RTA) in New South Wales says. The build-up was caused by teething problems with a new computer system introduced by Customs two-and-a-half-weeks ago.
  • Australian IT - $260,000 electric sedan clocks 370km/h (Wires, OCTOBER 25, 2005)
  • Mediawatch: Seditious opinion? Lock 'em up (24/10/2005): An expert legal opinion obtained by Media Watch on the impact of the new Anti-Terrorism Bill says that journalists and the commentators they interview might be caught out by the new laws on sedition. To put it another way, if you discuss terrorism with anything less than a perfect alignment to the goverment's stance; you're spouting or reporting sedition. I simply cannot believe this is happening in my country! :( Thanks a fucking bunch, Liberal voters.
  • FBI Papers Indicate Intelligence Violations. There's no real way to watch the FBI... and they know it. Just as there'll be no way for Australians to watch ASIO, since anyone who gets locked up can't tell anyone about it. Anyone who works out what happened has to keep their mouth shut or they'll be jailed too.

Govt amends counter-terror laws, Stanhope says. 28/10/2005. ABC News Online:

ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope says the final draft of the Federal Government's counter-terrorism legislation contains a number of significant amendments, particularly in relation to control orders and preventative detention.

The Federal Attorney-General's office has announced the counter-terrorism legislation will now not be introduced to Parliament on Melbourne Cup day.


In relation to preventative detention orders, he says the Commonwealth has widened the category of people able to issue orders, to include retired judges and the President of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

Federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock had wanted to introduce the bill next Tuesday, prompting the Opposition to suggest it was using the public's obsession with the Melbourne horse race as a way of avoiding scrutiny.

Retired judges will be able to issue these bills? WTF?! Interesting to see them back down on the Melbourne Cup Day timing... that really was a bit fucking obvious.

around the traps & news bits

seditious by definition?

How's this for sedition? - Opinion -

The Federal Government proposes to amend the Crimes Act 1914 so as to be able to jail any body of persons, incorporated or unincorporated, which by its constitution or propaganda or otherwise, advocates or encourages the doing of any act having or purporting to have as an object the carrying out of a seditious intention.

Seditious intention means an intention to bring the sovereign into hatred or contempt; or to urge disaffection against the constitution; the government of the Commonwealth; either house of the Parliament; to urge another person to attempt, otherwise than by lawful means, to procure a change to any matter established by law in the Commonwealth; and to promote feelings of ill-will or hostility between different groups so as to threaten the peace, order and good government of the Commonwealth.

Here's a problem with law: it's not definite, it's not specific. It's left open in order to give judges some wiggle room when applying the laws - I think the legal term is "allowing interpretation". This is why two people committing the same crime may get completely different sentences - community service versus jail time, for example.

By the cited definition of "sedition", expressing discontent with the government and encouraging people to vote against them could be deemed seditious and with that you could be placed in jail or under house arrest. Under new laws if anyone else figures out that you've been placed under house arrest and mentions it to someone in the tea room at work, they could be jailed for seven years.

So, basically, if the current government feels like it, they can jail Labour, Green and Democrat voters; since they advocate voting against the government. People are often quite strident in their opinions on the matter and could very easily be described as expressing hatred for Johnny "Lying Bastard" Howard and his minions. It's seditious to express a strong opinion that the government are a pack of arseholes who doing horriffic things to our way of life.

An extreme interpretation? Not really. Punching someone several times in the face is "assault". So is putting a hand on their shoulder. That's legal interpretation.

iPods to become theoretically legally usable in australia

iTunes hits Oz | Top stories | Breaking News 24/7 - (20-10-2005). Someone needs to remind Kathy McCabe that you're supposed to remove the superlatives and unsupportable claims before you publish a press release.

Hundreds of thousands of iPod users? Really? I know they're common, but how about some figures to back that up. A 500% increase in online sales? Compared with what? Services which nobody can even name? Based on predictions of how much money the iTunes execs expect to snort up their noses this year?

So, anyway, iTunes is finally getting released in Australia minus SonyBMG - obviously they didn't want to wait long enough to have a complete catalogue. Not that anyone should care based on the artists cited in this article (oh ok, Franz Ferdinand are pretty good).

how to disable autoplay (windows xp sanity saver)

I've just got a new work computer and have been shifted to Windows XP after years of happy Win2k use. The autorun thing shits me to tears - what a waste of time, reading an entire CD and then asking me what to do with it...just in general. Gahh!

Thankfully you can disable it!

Method one:

  1. Download and install Tweak UI via the Powertoys page
  2. Run Tweak UI
  3. My Computer → Autoplay → Types
  4. Deselect all drive types in the 'autoplay drive types' box.
  5. Apply, and you're done.

Method two:

  1. Start → Run
  2. gpedit.msc [enter]
  3. Computer Configuration → Administrative Templates → System
  4. Double-click the item "Turn off autoplay"
  5. Select "Enable"
  6. Select which drives from the dropdown, I went for "all drives" since I don't want it to search the entirety of our office's 20gig external hard drive whenever I use it.
  7. Click OK

Done! Windows preference handling really needs some work. It still can't handle font sizes in any sensible manner, nor does it display unicode characters out of the box.


around the traps

around the traps & thoughts on new laws

I've been going through various draft posts I haven't had time time to publish over the last couple of weeks. I threw away some draft posts screaming about the new anti-terrorism laws, particularly the ones I wrote before the laws were passed.

All I can think of now is the reaction of the cabbie who took me to the airport a few days ago (muslim, bearded, fits-a-profile). He hadn't heard about it yet and when I mentioned it he immediately said 'I better tell my girlfriend if I don't come home, she should call the police and check...' and wasn't really joking. He was a really nice guy, very passionate about his religion and terribly sad that people think it's a violent religion. He said it promotes peace, that extremists 'aren't muslims and don't represent islam'. He then helped me get my bags out of the boot at the airport and bid me a good day.

I keep thinking about him when the new laws are mentioned. What could he do if somebody decided he might be a risk? He'd be detained, maybe put under house arrest for months on end for absolutely no reason and nobody would ever know about it. Maybe he'd be allowed to tell his family. Maybe.

I mean, sure, so he could be a terrorist. But then I could be a bank robber in my spare time. My next door neighbour could be a disguised alien being beamed over from Mars. Personally I thought we lived in a country where "could" and "might" weren't good enough to lock people up.

At least, that's how it was when I was growing up. I guess it's a different nation now.


  • drjon: Terror Laws and the Australian Blogger...
  • Women want their men at work | Business | Breaking News 24/7 - (29-09-2005): 'There's no conflict about this: Australian women don't like it when their men work part-time,' says Jan van Ours, an international researcher who will today present a paper drawn from Australia's HILDA (Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia) survey. 'Australian women want their men in full-time jobs. They are least satisfied when they, themselves, have a job of more than 50 hours, and most satisfied when they are working part-time, or not at all.'
  • Police stake-out bar, hoping to catch man drunk | The Register : The journalist in question, Edmonton newspaper columnist Kerry Diotte, wasn't suspected of involvement in any crime. But Diotte had written a column criticizing the police force's radar and camera technology as being more of a cash cow for the force than an effective measure against road fatalities - and the story enraged the local constabulary.
  • Herald Sun: I shot the big cat [09oct05]: A Victorian hunter believes he may finally have solved the state's big cat mystery. Kurt Engel shot dead what is believed to be a leopard or a puma in Gippsland. The perspective in the photo is really strange. I'd be waiting for the DNA before I got excited.

sydney, the shortishnot very short version

  • Vulcan Hotel was good, although there was a little confusion over the booking they quickly sorted it out. I found the first room a bit noisy (Wattle Street is very busy and I'm a light sleeper) but once L joined me they moved us to a room on the back street which was much quieter. Breakfast was fine except for the last morning when the owner /manager decided to run breakfast herself. She really couldn't make a good coffee ;)
  • Web Essentials 05 rocked amazingly. I met a lot of great people, was reminded that big names in my industry are humans, got called geeky by at least one of them ;), got a lot of ideas to ponder, gave and received lots of business cards. It was just about everything you'd want in a conference, basically. It seemed over in about five minutes.
  • After the conference... Saw lots of people. In fact, there was only one person that I knew to be in Sydney that I didn't catch. Did in fact catch up with someone I didn't know lived in Sydney until a day or two before I left to go down there!
  • Sydney can be a surprisingly difficult place to find good food that doesn't cost the earth, depending on where you are. Even if you can find food, finding a bloody ATM to pay for it.... yeesh! :)
  • Spent metric fuckloads of cash, have a lot of shwag to show for it (plus a lot of memories of hurtling around in cabs). All of the following are notably hazardous to your credit card's health:
    • Faster Pussycat
    • House of Fetish (for the uninitiated, particularly the people from work who've found this blog, it's just a goth shop ok? stop being all squicked out, it's not necessary ;)) - they really looked after us, but then we did spend a lot. i now own a pair of jacques tchong pintripe pants!
    • Robert & Angelo (shop of Stuff up the road from HoF)
    • Paddington Markets
    • Powerhouse Museum gift shop
    • Sony Central bloody nearly got me, but I stayed strong and just bought new batteries for our cameras (they gave me a discount for buying two packs!). When I win lotto I'm going in there and shouting "one of everything, thanks!".
  • Not so good:
    • Gallery Serpentine turned out to be a waste of time unless you're a size 8 (quite literally, they only had one of most things and that one was size 8) or you're getting something custom made and you can come back in a few weeks. Their product is great, don't get me wrong, but we went all the way out there and couldn't buy anything. Stick to the website, basically.
    • Raben footwear's shop staff pissed me off completely, to the point where I basically decided I didn't feel like buying anything off them.
    • Public holiday Monday meant a lot of things were closed along Oxford Street. Plus a shop or two had closed/moved from Newtown.
  • Food... we had really mixed luck. Total disasters through to great success.
    • Xic Lo vietnamese noodle bar (Haymarket) was good, although a little caution turned out to be a good thing as far as the tea temperature goes ;)
    • Darling Harbour in general sucks arse if you don't want to spend $45 on a steak or you want to eat within two hours; although the Pumphouse was great (we didn't want to have pizza two nights running, although in hindsight i really wish we had just done so).
    • Zia Pina is now firmly established as a fucking brilliant place to eat. Six of us ate hugely, knocked off two bottles of wine and had ten gelati between us; all for less than $30 each.
    • Jury is still out on Wagamama. Food was ....weird, but to be fair I chose a strange option and should have stuck with yakisoba or something. Service was friendly and quick but the kitchen fucked up completely, leaving two of us sitting around waiting while everyone else was nearly finished. They did give us our drinks for free though.
    • Betty's Soup Kitchen has great food and wonderful entertainment watching their distaste at serving the heteros. Not to say their service isn't good, they'd just rather you were gay ;) I really enjoyed eating there, last time I was there I was feeling extremely ill and didn't get to enjoy it. For a cheap, hearty eat you can't really beat it; and yes, the bread is fantastic. Forgot to try their lemonade again though. Damn, guess I'll have to go back sometime.
    • Gelato Messina was gooooooood :) Their website is going straight to their webmail interface though. Oops!
    • Fratelli Paradiso do an excellent breakfast. Limited menu, yet I could have eaten nearly all of them very happily. The coffee was very good and service was attentive (so few places keep your water glass topped up - a little thing maybe but important on a hot day!). Not cheap though (although L's aunt shouted us as a birthday present anyway).
  • I took surprisingly few photos. Quite irritated that the day I planned to shoot a couple of specific buildings up the road from the hotel, the light was awful and I didn't get a chance anyway.
  • The seriously touristy stuff....
    • Powerhouse Museum gets two thumbs up - $10 and we were there for hours, yet we didn't see everything.
    • Maritime Museum gets the thumbs up as well - free for most of it! They're about to do exhibits on vikings and pirates too.
    • The Aquarium got the thumbs down before we even got in there - nearly $30 each? Not that keen.
    • Really wanted to do the Harbour Lights night cruise on the ferry, but we were so exhausted we decided to hold it over for next time.
  • I am incredibly sore. Have walked for miles over the past few days and finished up tonight dragging our over-weight luggage up the stairs. The two big bags came to 48kg, plus chunky laptop, plus jacket bag... ouch.
  • Still can't believe the range of weather... everything from hot as hell to chilly inside seven days. What gives with the heat - I'm from Brisbane damnit, I wanted cold weather ;)
  • Flight back was awful. Delayed takeoff, delayed landing with holding pattern over Gold Coast, multiple children in close vicinity (although the unattended kid in the seat next to me was actually very well behaved). Another bumpy landing in a crosswind, although nothing so spectacular as the QANTAS flight back last time.